Free actions as a natural kind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Do we have free will? Understanding free will as the ability to act freely, and free actions as exercises of this ability, I maintain that the default answer to this question is “yes.” I maintain that free actions are a natural kind, by relying on the influential idea that kinds are homeostatic property clusters. The resulting position builds on the view that agents are a natural kind and yields an attractive alternative to recent revisionist accounts of free action. My view also overcomes difficulties confronted by previous views according to which free actions might be a natural kind. On my view, free actions exist and we often act freely, as long as we possess various features that are related in the right sorts of ways to each other and to the world. In turn, we acquire and retain the concept as long as most of us possess enough of those features.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-843
Number of pages21
JournalSynthese
Volume198
Issue number1
Early online date2 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Action
  • Free will
  • Moral responsibility
  • Natural kinds
  • Revisionism

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